Chinese PV Industry Brief: First quarter brought 5.5 GW of new solar, Zhonghuan Semiconductor acquires stake in Maxeon


Wang Shijiang, secretary general of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association, told the China International Clean Energy Expo in Beijing the volume of newly installed PV capacity during the first quarter was 40% higher than the amount added in January-to-March last year. With 3.95 GW of new solar capacity added in Q1 last year, that would equate to 5.53 GW this time around.

Manufacturer China Glass showcased the seller’s market that is solar panel glass yesterday, with a first-quarter update featuring sales returns 73% higher than those posted in January-to-March last year, despite shipping only 40% more products. China Glass sold RMB793 million (US$122 million) of goods in a three-month window which is typically low season for the industry but which was this time marked by “historical levels” for product price and the demand-to-supply ratio. The company also announced plans to invest RMB142 million into 71% ownership of a joint venture with a government entity to establish a RMB200 million photovoltaic ultra-white rolled glass production base at Suqian High-Tech Industry Development Zone. Under the terms of the agreement, counterpart Suqian Bochen can require China Glass to buy out its stake after three years of operation.

Wafer producer Zhonghuan Semiconductor has approved a capital increase of US$36 million to acquire a stake in Singapore-based solar module maker Maxeon Solar Technologies. The Chinese manufacturer will purchase 1.87 million new shares to be issued by Maxeon, through Zhonghuan's Singaporean subsidiary. Maxeon's largest shareholder is French energy company Total.

Solar cell manufacturer Tongwei raised its prices last week. Multicrystalline 157mm cells now cost RMB0.70 per watt (US$0.11), for an increase of RMB0.07. Mono PERC 158.75mm ‘M2' cells will cost RMB0.96 per watt, RMB0.02 higher than in the previous weeks. Mono PERC 166mm M6 cells are priced at RMB0.89 per watt, up from RMB0.86. The price of mono PERC 210mm ‘M12' cells, though, remained unchanged, at RMB0.91 per watt.

Hong Kong-listed renewable energy company Beijing Enterprises Clean Energy Group Limited announced yesterday it had signed an agreement with the government of Xinzhou City, in Shanxi province, for the construction of a 1 GW solar plant linked to 100 MW of storage. The 27km2 project will be part of a 2.5 GW clean energy base planned for Xinzhou in the imminent five-year plan, and which has been highlighted by the National Energy Administration as a key demonstration project.

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